Factor 50 Suncream Nearly Caused Rickets

A mother's revealed how smothering her daughter with sun cream helped lead to a vitamin D deficiency.

Lisa Attrill from  Sandown on the Isle of Wight, said that she wanted to make sure her daughter, 12-year-old Tyler, was protected from the sun's harmful rays and regularly used factor 50 sun protection.

But her daughter was diagnosed with the deficiency of the vitamin when she was slow to recover from an unrelated operation on her leg.

If the deficiency had gone undetected, it could have led to Tyler suffering from rickets.

Mrs Attrill said:

"I used factor 50 to prevent the sun getting to her.

"When I was talking to the doctor about the deficiency, he asked if I had used sun cream on her, and when I said yes, he said, 'There you go then'.

"It's the only thing we can come up with as to why she has had this.''

Mrs Attrill said that the condition left her daughter suffering aches and pains in her legs.

She added that her daughter had been treated with multi-vitamin tablets and recent blood tests proved that her levels were back to normal.

Last November, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon said that 20% of children he had checked for bone problems showed signs of rickets.

Professor Nicholas Clarke, of Southampton General Hospital, examined more than 200 children from Southampton for problems caused by a lack of vitamin D and was astonished by the result which, he said, was reminiscent of 17th century England.

The disease has been on the rise across the country due to poor diet and children not being allowed outside.

Normally, the body takes in vitamin D in the form of sun-synthesis through the skin, but eggs and oily fish such as mackerel contain the vitamin.

Those deficient in the vitamin can suffer weak and bowed bones.

"A lot of the children we've seen have got low vitamin D and require treatment,'' the doctor said.

"In my 22 years at Southampton General Hospital, this is a completely new occurrence in the south that has evolved over the last 12 to 24 months and we are seeing cases across the board, from areas of deprivation up to the middle classes, so there is a real need to get national attention focused on the dangers this presents.''

Rickets is traditionally a poverty-linked bone disease that generally disappeared around 90 years ago after the discovery in the 1920s of vitamin D.

It was endemic in poor areas of Victorian England.

Prof Clarke said vitamin D supplements should be more widely adopted to halt the rise in cases.